Needs Analysis: Batting
To improve performance and reduce your risk of injury, it is vital to understand the demands of your role. Position-specific programmes allow us to tailor cricket fitness programmes to the demands of each role. We create all of our position specific programmes based on a needs analysis of the role.
Physical qualities required for batters
Makes better use of the stretch-shortening cycle to increase bat speed. When striking the ball, we want our hips to rotate first and our shoulders to lag behind and then as the energy transfers up the body, snap through. A larger hip-shoulder separation, or x-factor angle, has been shown to positively correlate with bat speed.
Upper body strength
Increases the amount of force available to use. Whilst you don't have to have "big arms" to hit the ball hard, if you have more upper body strength then you are going to have more force available to use! This still needs to be able to applied with a high rate of force development
Improves running between the wickets to increase run-making opportunities. Likewise, becoming a better sprinter will make you a more explosive athlete positively transferring into being a more explosive batter.
Lower body strength
Creates a solid base to swing from to increase overall power output. We have some large muscle groups in our lower body that all play a role in the kinetic chain when swinging your bat. Make sure you use them.
Rotational core power
Links the lower and upper body together to make a powerful kinetic chain. An untrained core will flex, extend and rotate excessively, wasting potential energy.
Fitness testing for batters
Understanding how to test and retest your physical performance ability can be a simple way to track improvements in your cricket game. Batting requires a blend of strength, power and speed so below are some simple tests we can use to track progress across a season. Once you have recorded your scores for each testing, you can now see how you rank in terms of normative data. Remember, the aim is to train and improve on your previous scores! This process can take weeks or months, so stay disciplined and consistent with training.
Upper body strength
Testing our 3-repetition maxes (3RM) in the barbell bench press and barbell bench pull will give you an understanding of how strong your upper body is. This test requires your maximum effort for the maximum weight lifted in only 3 repetitions.
At Home Version: Max Pull-ups in one attempt and Max Press Ups in one attempt.
Lower body strength
Utilising the barbell back squat or barbell deadlift by testing your 3-repetition max (3RM) will give you an understanding of how strong your lower body is. Our aim would be to increase the lower body strength so we can generate greater power when batting.
At Home Version: Maximum wall sit duration
Lower body Power
Testing your vertical jump (Countermovement Jump) will express your full-body explosive power capabilities. This can be performed using a jump mat or an app on your phone. If this is unattainable, place a metre ruler up against a wall and record yourself using your phone in slow motion. You can then watch the video back and record your score.
At Home Version: Perform a double-leg broad jump. Use a tape measure and broomstick to record your jump distance.
Having a strong cardiovascular system is important for recovery in between sprinting. It will also help promote your recovery in between training or gym sessions. Performing a Yo-Yo Test will give an understanding of how good your aerobic fitness is.
At Home Version: 2.0km run as quickly as possible.
Sprint Speed is a necessity for batters when running between wickets. Testing your 20m sprint can be done with the use of timing gates split across 20m (one gate at 0m- start and one gate at 20m-finish). Begin with a standing start and accelerate as quickly as possible through the next timing gate.
At Home Version: Get someone to time you running 20m as quickly as possible.
Testing core strength is simple. Perform a standard plank for as long as possible and record the time. Additionally, testing your side plank strength will help give a greater overall core strength understanding.
At Home Version: Perform plank and side plank for as long as possible. Record your time for each.
- Golding, L.A. et al. (1986) Y's way to physical fitness: the complete guide to fitness testing and instruction. 3rd ed, USA: Human Kinetics
- Arnot, R. and Gaines, C. (1984) Sports Talent. Harmondsworth: Penguin